Interpreting Our Defense of Marriage Act Survey Results

By , June 2nd, 2013 | 10th Amendment, Civil Rights, Government, Immigration, Legal, Media, New York, Same-Sex Marriage | 0 Comments

Last week, this blog created a survey to gauge people’s knowledge of the Defense of Marriage Act as well as their opinions on its fate in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. While far from a scientific survey, some interesting tidbits came out of it.

Even though there are currently twelve states that allow same-sex marriage, back in 1996 when the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted there were none. The first state to legalize same-sex marriage was Massachusetts on May 17, 2004.

While just over 70% of survey respondents knew the year DOMA was born, only about 59% remembered that DOMA was a pre-emptive strike.

The results of the effects of DOMA were mixed. On the issue of immigration, everyone realized that DOMA prevents same-sex bi-national couple from sponsoring their foreign partner for immigration the same way an opposite-sex are allowed to do so.

On taxation, while 94% also knew that since the first U.S. same-sex marriage in 2004, gay marriage couple could not file their federal jointly, only about 53% realized that since 2004 married same-sex couples could not file jointly their New York State income taxes. New York State had a law on the books that stated that however you filed your marital status for your federal income taxes you had to file the same for your state tax return. That would eventually change in seven years later in 2011 with the Marriage Equality Act.

Survey takers were also asked for their opinion on how they feel that SCOTUS will rule on the DOMA case United States v. Winsdor. The majority of almost 62% believe that the ruling will force the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages while letting each state decide the question of recognizing others as well as their own. Approximately 18% think that the high court will use a broad stroke and legalize same-sex marriage across all 50 states.

Surprisingly, not a single person chose for them to uphold DOMA. The one respondent that personally supports DOMA was among the almost 12% that think that SCOTUS will sidestep the issue on a legal standing and kick it back to a lower court, which the New York Times has reports “effectively spell the end of the challenged part of the 1996 law.”

“What makes this issue tough is the equality and human rights position counters the well established religious stance that the gay lifestyle is sinful.  The religious right is in direct conflict with the liberal left on this issue. It is contentious (sic). I believe the liberal media and judges have an agenda to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. It’s a matter of time until this happens. I personally believe that religious morals and Biblical teachings say that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman. I am for the Defense of Marriage Act and hope it stands.” – Survey Taker #20″

Survey Taker #20 isn’t alone in his distrust of the media.


Almost 80% of the survey believe that the media, news and entertainment, do not understands and reports on the issues revolving around same-sex couples and DOMA accurately. Some of them blame the media in general while others blamed the “conservative media” icons like Fox News.

“After completing your “quiz” I now know how little I in fact know about DOMA.  This tells me the media isn’t doing an effective job, as I have read a great number of articles on it and had to guess on many of the questions.” – Survey Taker #3

“The media is biased, constantly ending stories about DOMA from the perspective of religious organizations who feel their “religious liberty,” would be violated in allowing same sex married couples the same rights and responsibilities that opposite sex married couples enjoy.  The truth is that repealing DOMA would not be taking anything away from opposite sex married couples, marriage would be federally recognized and extended to same sex couples, allowing them to engage fully as tax abiding United States citizens.  Bigotry needs to be called out by the media, plain and simple.”  – Survey Taker #11

“The media has two issues at stake: 1) to sell itself and make a profit, and; 2) to present their angle. FOX is a far right-wing news media and will forward the right’s agenda. The Los Angeles Times has never been a friend of INS, and will paint the legacy organizations (CBP, CIS, etc.) in a bad light.”– Survey Taker #12

“In general I feel there is an accurate accounting – Unless you are watching FOX news (sic).” – Survey Taker #13

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